Saturday, September 15, 2012

15 Sept.

         So, just for you to know, way back on the 15th of September, 1789, baby James Fenimore Cooper was born. What a totally popular author he was in his day! Readers loved losing themselves in his tales, such as The Last of the Mohicans, set in young America's wild frontier, but not until I read David McCullough's book, The Greater Journey, did I know that, two years after J.F.C. wrote the L. of the M's., he upped and moved himself and his wife & children to Paris, in 1828. Where he became good friends w/ the splendid painter, Samuel F. B. Morse, who'd go on to invent the telegraph. Isn't that something? 
        Old, long-gone Mr. Cooper shares a birthday with the wondrously tubby William Howard "Big Bill" Taft, 27th U.S. President (b. 1837) - the only president to go on to be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Who once upon a time, on a frosty January day in Oyster Bay, NY, 1919, stood weeping over the grave of Theodore Roosevelt, POTUS No. 26, his old friend-turned-political enemy. 
     Exactly 100 years after Mr. Cooper was born, Robt. Benchley came into the world. Do you know about this guy? If not you should. Get a load of him here!  It's Agatha Christie's b-day, too. She'd be 122 years old today if she hadn't died years ago - and rather peacefully, too, as far as I know. Ironic, considering how many murders she plotted. You might have seen one of many film versions of her plays, stories, & books (my favorite? PBS's Poirot)but oh baybee! - give yourself the fun of reading one of 'em.  Check out THIS one. It begins like this: "It was five o'clock on a winter's morning in Syria."
     Oh well, anyway, countless folks who've been dead for years & many who are still bumbling along have a birthday today, when I had every expectation of being at Mansfield, MO, for a celebration of the life & works of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Those of you who are her fans know she used to live there. Until she got her ticket punched back on a winter day in 1957, when I was in the 5th grade. Anyway, I never got there because it was raining fishhooks & hammer handles out on the interstate. It's a wonder I didn't end up dead in a ditch. Could hardly see the lines on the highway or the brake lights of the shadowy vehicles in front of me. And explain to me what sort of an idiot would be out driving in a driving rain and NOT turn on their headlights? You'd think their lights were coin-operated. Sheesh. 

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